How To Open a Swiss Bank Account

Switzerland, also known as the Swiss Federation is one of the federal republics in Europe. If you are planning on moving here, you have made a great decision. This country is located between several prominent countries in Western-Central Europe. There is plenty to see and do by living here. Germany is on the Northern side, France is to the West, Italy is on the South and Austria is to the East. h. This beautiful country is ranked one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of both financial and nonfinancial equities. This is what makes it such a central finance center. Having a Swiss bank account is known as a huge status symbol around the world.

how to open bank account in switzerland

Moving to Switzerland

If you need a Bank Account in Switzerland, this article will teach you how to accomplish your goal. Achieving this will help you get your finances in order and be able to cash your paycheck, make purchases online, pay employees if you own a business, earn interest on your money as well as several other financial activities. Switzerland has the most famous banks in the world and is known for keeping large sums of money for prominent people. There are hundreds of banks to choose from in the country. Some are large corporate banks while others are smaller local ones. It is the largest offshore financial center in the world. The FBC or Federal Banking Commission sets the rules and regulations that govern these institutions. They are known for being leaders in the field as far as customer service and the privacy of its clients. You will learn how to get a Bank account in Switzerland for standard banking activities for the average citizen.

The Currency in Switzerland

Switzerland does not use the Euro as their currency of choice because they did not join the European Union. They are one of the select few European countries that hasn’t converted yet. Euros are accepted in certain locations but most payments made in Switzerland must be made in Swiss francs. They do accept Euros for toll booths, at airports and on the railway as those are activities where getting to a currency exchange center are not always possible.

Begin the Process Before You Move if Possible

If you have just moved to the country, you should get a Swiss bank account as soon as possible. if you can, try to get your bank account set up before you move. It can be difficult to get a residence in Switzerland if you don’t have a bank account. A great feature that most Swiss banks offer is getting your own account manager. This way you can contact someone directly by phone or email if you have any questions or run into any issues.

Using Bank Cards in Europe

Like the majority of Europe, bank card use is widely used in Switzerland. Some of the more rural areas still have shops and boutiques that still are cash only businesses. They prefer a more traditional way of life than relying on credit and bank cards.

Picking a Bank in Switzerland

In the country of Switzerland, there are two major kinds of banks that provide financial services and everyday kind of banking. They are known as cantonal banks and National Institutions. There are also numerous banks that are private institutions as well as investment banks. These in general do not usually deal with the day to day banking and spending that the average individual does. If you want detailed information on the Swiss banking system, you can look into the SBA or Swiss Bankers Association.

Switzerland National Institutions

National institutions operate around the country in Switzerland. Some of the biggest Swiss banks are:

International Banking

It is common knowledge that many people open a bank account in Switzerland every day. They are huge on an international level and it is the number one country in the world for storing large sums of money discreetly. You would think that finding an everyday ordinary bank would be easy, on the contrary, finding an international bank to do standard banking is not as easy as it sounds. There are not a lot of branches for basic banking activities like checking, savings, direct deposits and debit card usage. In general, it is not likely that you will be allowed to switch from a Non-Swiss international bank to a Swiss banking branch. The Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland or AFBS, controls all foreign banks and branches.

Banking With Big Bucks in Switzerland

The more known international Swiss banks deal in primarily wealth management with foreign clientele who wish to keep their funds in a private and secure location. These are generally private banks and investment institutions. Opening a Swiss bank account in one of these places requires an extremely large deposit.

Getting Your Account set up Before You Move to Switzerland

If you are interested in opening a bank account in Switzerland before you move there or as an international customer, you should be aware that it can be difficult. It is not as easy as it used to be. The issue that you may run into if you try to open an account before you have your immigration papers is that basic services are not available in other countries. You can however correspond with the bank of your choice through the mail if you follow all of the bank’s regulations. Contact the bank that you are interested in doing business with and request one of their out of the area application packages. They will send a list of the documents that you will need and expect to do all business through the post office rather than on the internet.

Documentation for opening a Swiss bank account abroad or Before You Move

in order to open a bank account  in Switzerland, you must prove who you are through standard forms of identification as well as your address. They may also ask you some questions about your past and history of employment. These are questions that are normally asked. It is a lot of paperwork and having a notary sign it is often required. There are a few ways that you can do this in Switzerland.

  • Get an Apostille stamp
  • Go in person to the bank you want to join
  • Take a trip to a correspondent bank picked by the Swiss bank you are joining

You Have Moved, Now What?

In the biggest cities in Switzerland, most banks have an English speaking teller on staff from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. These are typical banking hours and when you want to visit after you have moved. No appointment is needed. Once you are here and have your proper immigration papers and proof of residence, you are in a position to make it a quick and easy trip. What is not quick however, is activating the account. They can take from a week to a month to become fully active. Your debit card and any credit cards can come anytime from a week to ten days after your account is activated. Where your original funds came from will also be checked over. You can request a card called a Carte Maestro, a Swiss debit card that can be used almost anywhere in the country. It is also used to take cash out at ATM’s. Credit cards are issued a little differently. You put a deposit down for double or three times as much as the monthly credit limit. You will not get it retuned until all bills in collections have been paid in full and the card is cancelled.

The Paperwork and Documents Required to Set up Your Bank Account in Switzerland

All banks, regardless of where you are in the world, you can assume that you will be asked for certain documents that verify your identity, where you live, and a bill that is from within the last 90 days. if you don’t have an address yet, you may need to invest a significant amount of money to prove your level of reliability or have references from your place of work.

Fees and Other Normal Charges

A monthly fee or a CHF 2-10 is expected for a standard account and it may be up to CHF 30 for an account with more features. This is included in the fees for debit and credit cards. A waiver is sometimes issued if you have a large amount of money deposited in the account or have a savings account with a large deposit amount at the same bank. If you have a mortgage with them or agree to paperless billing these terms may also qualify you for a waiver of fees. You can expect yearly fees for your debit and credit cards of around CHF 30. New customers are required to put a deposit in the bank that is one to two times the credit limit that you are allowed to qualify for a credit card. This is to prove that you can afford the credit card and why the Swiss have such low levels of debt within the country. You do earn interest on that money however. You may also be charged for taking out money with your debit card from ATM’s outside of your network. Some charge a fixed fee regardless of where you withdrawal the money. If you need a cash advance, the fee is usually around 2-4 percent. Paying your bills or transferring to another bank in Switzerland, may also incur charges.  a Swiss bank account will help you greatly when you move to the country. It is wise to understand all of the fees and charges before you move so that there are no surprises.

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